Product Test: Digital tyre pressure gauges
Ten gauges go head to head – which one should you buy?
There are many aspects of digital tyre gauges that we wanted to assess. Top of the list was accuracy, so we considered a suitable test procedure and looked into making a manometer, which consists of a large, waterfilled, U-shaped tube that’s sealed at one end with a Schrader valve. We could have used this to calculate the air pressure at one end and see whether the digital tyre pressure gauges were accurate in their measurements. However, the size of the manometer to cater for the range of pressure we wanted to test made it unfeasible, plus we had no way of knowing whether it would be accurate. So, we consulted one of the manufacturers of our digital tyre pressure gauges – PCL of Sheffield – to see if they had a digital manometer. They agreed to lend it to us to use for testing, but were not involved in the test themselves.
We conducted three tests per gauge at 30-40Psi. We found all of the gauges were between 2.6-3% accurate, and all of them over-read (see the accuracy rating for each gauge). However, our findings were based on the assumption that the digital manometer was accurate.
So we broadened our testing to look at how easy each gauge was to use, what additional features they offered (eg, a light), their price and whether the batteries could be replaced. We also tested the gauges on a variety of wheels to see whether particular tyre valves were more awkward than others to access.